In our last post, we looked at how Jesus was an example of fulfilled prophecy; in today’s post, we see how the success of the great commission is fulfilled prophecy! This really amounts to two claims: (1) the Bible predicted that Christianity would spread to the ends of the earth. (2) This has truly happened against all odds.
Old Testament Prophecies
All throughout the Old Testament, there is a shocking claim that the tiny, local religion of the Jews would cover the whole planet. If we were to transfer this to the realm of politics, it would be as shocking as hearing that Paupa New Guinea has been insisting that they would be the world’s next super power!
All Shall Be Blessed from Abraham’s Descendant
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(Genesis 12:1-3)
Even the Egyptians and Assyrians will praise God!
This is a shocking claim: the mighty Egyptian and Assyrian empires would one day worship the true God as revealed to tiny Israel.
In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. 21 And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. 22 And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. 23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. 24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. (Isaiah 19:19-24 )
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. (Zechariah 14:16)
Fulfilled Prophecy in the New Testament
Clearly, the claim is that the religion of Judaism would extend to all of the world. Now, as Christians, we hold that Christianity is Judaism fulfilled. Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) of the Old Testament. So it is natural that it be fulfilled through Jesus.
We see the above prophecies being fulfilled as early as the second chapter of Acts!
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:5-12 )
This prophesy has been fulfilled! To visualize this, check out this video:
Fulfilled Prophecy and The Shape of History
Blaise Pascal points out how remarkable this is:
“What Plato had not been able to make a few chosen and highly educated men believe, a secret force made hundreds of thousands of ignorant men believe by the power of a few words… For 2,000 years no heathen had worshipped the God of the Jews… No heathen believed from the time of Moses to that of Christ, according to the rabbis themselves, and then after Christ the mass of the heathen believed in the books of Moses.”
It is indeed remarkable how the prophets were able to foretell the very shape of history!
The Current Task
However, even though the Gospel has spread all over the world, the work is not yet done. There are people groups who have not heard, and there are people in your own neighborhood who haven’t heard! Begin practicing evangelism today!